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Here's Everything You Need to Know About the Murder of Jayland Walker
On June 27, Jayland Walker was fatally shot during a traffic stop. His family now seeks answers after shooting footage was recently released.
Protests continue in Akron, Ohio nearly two weeks after the murder of Jayland Walker during a routine traffic stop on Monday (June 27). Although Walker was unarmed at the time of the incident, he suffered more than 60 gunshot wounds from several Akron Police Department officers, who fired 90 shots.
Graphic footage from the shooting was released on Sunday (July 3), showing Walker exiting his moving vehicle while wearing a ski mask, before being chased and gunned down by eight officers. Before Walker was fatally shot, the APD alleged that the 25-year-old "posed a deadly threat to them," prompting them to open fire. With Walker "pronounced dead on the scene" according to the release, his deceased body was handcuffed and a handgun was allegedly discovered in the backseat of his vehicle. At the time of the shooting, Walker was reportedly making DoorDash deliveries before he was killed on Wilbeth Avenue and Main Street.
After dozens of downtown businesses were found damaged on Monday morning (July 4) following weekend protests over Walker's shooting, Mayor Dan Horrigan issued a curfew that evening, with plans to lift it on Wednesday morning.
“In light of the damage that has occurred and in order to preserve peace in our community, I have declared a state of emergency, implemented a curfew and canceled the fireworks which were scheduled for tonight,” Horrigan stated on Monday, issuing a curfew from 9 PM to 6 AM on Monday and Tuesday. About 50 people were arrested after midnight on Monday.
Since then, some of Walker's family has spoken out on the shooting. During a Wednesday appearance (July 6) on Good Morning America, Walker's sister, Jada Walker, said that “the last thing I would have imagined him having with him is a gun.”
“I’ve never known him to own a gun of any sort at all. He never brought it to my attention," Jada said during the interview.
Here's everything you need to know about Jayland Walker's shooting.
Walker's autopsy shows that his body was handcuffed
Although a final autopsy has not been released, when Walker's body arrived to the coroner's office, his hands were handcuffed behind his back. Photos from the medical examiners showed multiple bullet wounds from Walker's ankle to his cheek on both sides of his body. Officials have stated that the shooting occurred when it appeared that Walker was reaching toward his waist, although he was not carrying a weapon.
Akron has lifted their city-wide curfew
As Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan issued a curfew for the city at the beginning of the week, he's kept his promise of lifting the protest if tensions simmered. On Tuesday night, tear gas was deployed by the Summit County Sheriff SWAT team and local law enforcement on protesters outside the county jail. While no one was arrested on Tuesday, Horrigan has defended the arrests of 50 people on Sunday night, per the Akron Beacon Journal.
"Those who were arrested were engaged in criminal behavior. They were becoming violent with officers and disrupting the peace which the community has been urging throughout this difficult time in our city. These individuals do not represent the larger gathering of peaceful protests and we won’t let them control the narrative of our community who are voicing their concerns," Horrigan said in a statement.
Now that the curfew has been lifted on Wednesday, Horrigan thanked Akron residents for "peacefully protesting."
"As always, public safety remains our top priority and I urge our community to report any instances or threats of violence or destruction so that a small group of agitators does not cause further damage to our city and small businesses," he said.
Advocates for Walker say the shooting was unjustified
As footage from the shooting shows that Walker was fleeing the officers, some viewers have opined that his murder was unwarranted. Ninety shots were fired during the shooting, with at least 60 bullets striking Walker.
“How it got to this with a pursuit is beyond me,” Bobby DiCello, the family's lawyer, said on Sunday (June 3). “I hope we remember that as Jayland ran across that parking lot, he was unarmed."
Others have noted that the killing was racially-charged, including NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.
"Any officers who fire 90 rounds at a Black man, for an alleged traffic violation, should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," Johnson said in a statement. "This wasn't self-defense, it wasn't an accident in the heat of the moment, it was murder.
Eight officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave
Seven of the officers were reportedly white while one was Black. The eight officers are "cooperating fully" with the investigation and have been placed on administrative leave. It will be determined if the use of force was justified.
"The decision to deploy lethal force as well as the number of shots fired is consistent with use of force protocols and officers' training," the Fraternal Order of Police Akron Lodge 7 said in a statement.